THE LAST LETTER
Kristina Ranki, Museum Director
Dear Visitors, Partners and Friends of the Mannerheim Museum!
After almost nine years my time here in the most fabulous biographic home museum has come to an end. I will leave a place which in many aspects has stayed the same, but also much changed during this time. We have had the opportunity to modernize, create new ideas and reconsider museological aspects in a way that – at least now – seems historical. The whole museum field is changing, and we are lucky to have an enlightened background organization, the Mannerheim foundation, who truly understands that development is necessary. What will the future role of museums be? How are we going to define the profile of this particular institution?
But it is, however, the audience, the visitors, who are the core of the activities. Recurrent habitués, first-timers and those who “came here already once, some 40 years ago” are all the reason why the things that stay the same are so addictive! To meet people from all around the world and to share with them knowledge about Finnish history and speculations about Gustaf Mannerheim is just very attractive for a scholar who is at the same time keen on organizing events and representing the unique nation brand called Finland.
Among our achievements we can count on one hand numerous high profile and state visits and on the other hand collegial sharing of expertise and best practices with both Finnish and European home museums. We have developed historical exhibitions, educating and entertaining digital products, history seminars and drama tours. The museological work we have learned throughout these years is still to be continued, but new collection data bases and sharing trends with other museum professionals have changed this house quite a bit. The building itself has been declared a protected monument by the Act on the Protection of the Built Heritage.
Two very special periods have also tested us during these years: in 2017, the commemoration year of Marshal Mannerheim’s birth 150 years ago, with some 25 different projects, and, on the other end of the scale, the pandemic challenges that we seem to have gone through with a great resilience among the personnel. I will never forget that some of my most memorable moments have taken place here. The Mannerheim Museum will be a part of my life, and I will forever stay an ambassador for strict sitting (and standing) protocols but also for Mannerheim’s sense of breaking the rule once in a while!
Most of all, I am really happy about having been able to recruit two solid professionals for full-time, permanent positions – and to know that the guides and the reception personnel is here again eager to meet you when you come to visit. I myself will show up again – very soon, I think!